Examining Rose’s Bulls climb to 62 wins
The Chicago Bulls becoming the number one team, record wise, reveals a quantum leap this season and ramifications for the future. Not many people are examining the Bulls massive improvements – they practically flew over the Atlantic Ocean without breaking a sweat. Imagine predicting that the Bulls would be the number one team with the best defense before the season started. Imagine that. People laugh, mock, wants some weed that you smoked, and then label you a Bulls homer. That is why some of us should say, “We’ll see.”
Look at the team at the end of the regular season; 62-20, number one rated defense, and the top spot.
They climbed from the 16th best record (41-41) in 2009-2010 with the 11th rated defense to league’s best. Wow. We have not seen anything like this within the past 15 years. The Phoenix Suns had a bigger improvement going from 29-53 in 2003-2004 to ending up with 62-20 in the next season. However, they did not improve their defense to number one. It is interesting to note that Chicago had a point differential of -1.6 in 2010. In 2011, their point differential is +7.3. Defense is more difficult to execute than offense so extra kudos to the Bulls for that.
Thibs versus Rose
Who did the Bulls needed more? Whenever analysts praised Tom Thibodeau, Derrick Rose gets discredited. Whenever Rose is praised, Thibs is pushed to the back seat. Rose was on perennial 41 win teams before Thibs took them to the next level. This idea was generated during the Rose for MVP arguments where if you took Rose out and replaced him with a 15 PER level point guard then the Bulls would not suffer many setbacks because Thibs controls the number one defense. Logically, the theory does not work because the 15 PER level guard is significantly worse than Derrick Rose who had a 23.5 PER.
Just on that basic level of understanding, the argument for Rose being replaceable is wrong. Basketball does not work that way. It’s a sport, not math. You can’t just plug numbers in to equations. Anyone who played the sport at any level for a long period of time understands this.
The Chicago Bulls is not a playoff team with a 15 PER level point guard because Carlos Boozer missed 23 games and Joakim Noah missed 34 games. That’s all anyone needs to know. Advanced statistics will not show that. The Bulls would be a lottery team and dead last in offense.
They need Tom Thibodeau and Derrick Rose to catapult to the number one spot with the number defense. Contrary to what the numbers reflect, Rose plays a huge chunk of those minutes meaning that he has to play good defense himself. No defender can shut down any player. That does not exist.
Derrick Rose also made history with 62 wins because no one else in NBA history led their team to that when they were 22 years old. You read that correct.
Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Shaq, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Isiah Thomas, and any other player you can think of did not accomplish this when they were 22 years old. That is amazing considering that Chicago was on pace for 66+ wins if Boozer and Noah did not miss that much time. That alone squashes the “weakest MVP of all time” argument from noisy naysayers.
The red squad also led the league in back to back games. That’s a brutal schedule. They managed to find ways to win regardless with Rose at the helm. At one point in the 2010-2011 season, no one thought that Chicago can catch San Antonio. The Bulls never lost 3 in a row and didn’t have any type of meltdown. The team also went for 51-12 when Boozer returned on December 4, 2010. Wow. It’s funny how things played out.